The Emperor of Ocean Park

The Emperor of Ocean Park

by Stephen L. Carter

Intricate, superbly written, often scathingly funny - a brilliantly crafted tapestry of ambition, family secrets, murder, integrity tested, and justice has gone terribly wrong.An extraordinary fiction debut: a large, stirring novel of suspense that is, at the same time, a work of brilliantly astute social observation.

It tells the story of a complex family with a single, seductive link to the shadowlands of crime.The Emperor of the title, Judge Oliver Garland, has just died, suddenly.

The humbling defeat became a private agony, one from which he never recovered.But now the Judge's death raises, even more, questions--and it seems to be leading to a second, even more, terrible scandal.

Could Oliver Garland have been murdered?

When another man is found dead, and then another, Talcott--wry, straight-arrow, almost too self-aware to be a man of action--must risk his career, his marriage, and even his life, following the clues his father left him.Intricate, superbly written, often scathingly funny, The Emperor of Ocean Park is a triumphant work of fiction, packed with character and incident--a brilliantly crafted tapestry of ambition, family secrets, murder, integrity tested, and justice has gone terribly wrong.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.59
  • Pages: 672
  • Publish Date: May 27th 2003 by Vintage
  • Isbn10: 0375712925
  • Isbn13: 9780375712920

What People Think about "The Emperor of Ocean Park"

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it (!!) if you love thrillers, intelligent mysteries with puzzles, a level of erudite language and complex concepts, and reading accurate accounts of the small minority of minorities known as the upper echelon of black society (or, as W.E.B. DuBois called it, the Talented Tenth).** The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Indeed, it was emotive where it needed to be, while still offering those sharp references to societal issues--I am old enough to remember when few black women of her age wore their hair any other way, but nationalism turned out to be less an ideology than a fad being one of my personal favorites and certainly representative of his tonethat are jolting and appreciated for their wit, insight and stunning logical clarity. Its a feat often tried but seldom achieved with greatness, and I was caught off guard by the magnitude of his writing, by the eloquence of innuendos and by the fact that he managed to uncover this hidden world to the masses while still making it feel like a secret. In fact, Id venture to say that a reader who could follow his intention, and who appreciates a view into the inner workings of dirty American politics, would feel that theyd been let in on a secret. While the word count itself was certainly not to be considered massive comparative to some, the style of writing and tendency towards verboseness of narrative at times made the novel feel more massive than it was, and the task of reading through the backstory of every minor character could be tedious.

The fact that this book explores university politics featuring east coast black upper-middle class characters made it stand out from the pack, but once you get over this facet (which I did pretty quickly), what you're left with is a well written and fairly intriguing mystery, more memorable than some I've read, less so than others.

While I've certainly seen and known educated and upper middle class African Americans like Talcott aka Misha (a law professor)and his wife Kimmer (a lawyer) in real life, I've rarely encountered them in the world of fiction and never with the kind of depth or complexity they're lent in this novel.

The hero, Talcott, watches his life slowly crumble before him as his father's secrets slowly come to light. He wrestles with memories of his father's alcoholic period, the loss of a sister, the estrangement of an older brother, at the same time dealing with annoying people in his family AND professional life as a law professor. The author is careful to never give us too much of the mystery's solution at a time, while providing wonderful details about the professor's life and family.

I enjoyed reading this but was a little disappointed that the privileged African-Americans were just a description of the characters because their class and race were, for the most part, inconsequential to the story.

However, the plot line of this mystery is secondary to the breadth of Carter's knowledge of human nature.

He needs a better editor but at the same time this is incredible for a first novel.

What's funny is that the very reason I loved this book so much at first is the reason I sort of was bored at the end -- the mystery is almost secondary to the the characters and relationships in the book.

His latest novel is New England White (Knopf, 2007).